- "In a realm beyond sight
the sky shines gold, not blue.
There, the Triforce's might
makes mortal dreams come true."
- — Book of Mudora Verse
The Sacred Realm (聖地 Seichi?, Sacred Land), also referred to as the Golden Land, was a recurring location in the The Legend of Zelda series. The Sacred Realm was described as a mythical plane, or parallel world, that was created along with Hyrule by the three Golden Goddesses. It was the resting place of the Triforce, an artifact of great power that was left by the Goddesses. Though the Sacred Realm was linked to Hyrule, the way to access it and acquire the Triforce within was shrouded in secrecy.
Long ago, many people aggressively sought the coveted Triforce. War broke out between those who attempted to access the Golden Land. Eventually, the thief, Ganondorf was able to enter and acquired the Triforce. His wish was to conquer the world, and thus the Golden Land was transformed into a twisted reflection of Ganondorf's evil heart, and came to be known as the Dark World. That world was a hostile equivalent of Hyrule that was filled with monsters, and turned those within it into a form that befitted who they were at heart. Ganondorf took the form of a monstrous boar, and became known as Ganon, the King of Darkness. Evil power flowed forth from the Dark World and Ganon's monsters invaded Hyrule. The Knights of Hyrule fought against them until the Seven Wise Men were able to place a seal on the Dark World, and locked Ganon and his forces within.
After a long time passed, Ganon used his alter ego, the Wizard, Agahnim, to act in the Light World, the world that contained Hyrule. Agahnim overthrew the King of Hyrule and captured the Seven Maidens, descendants of the Seven Wise Men who created the seal on the Dark World. By sending the maidens to the Dark World, Agahnim broke the seal, and Ganon prepared to conquer the Light World. However, the hero, Link was able to rescue the Seven Maidens from the Dungeons of the Dark World and defeated Agahnim, as well as Ganon himself. Link touched the Triforce and wished that all of Ganon's evil deeds to be undone. Link's wish was granted, the Dark World was restored to its original form as the Golden Land, and peace returned to Hyrule.
The Sacred Realm was isolated from Hyrule by a seal that could only be opened with a unique collection of items: The Three Spiritual Stones, which belonged to three of the races of Hyrule. the Ocarina of Time, the Song of Time, which opened the seal of the Temple of Time, the gateway to the Sacred Realm, and the Master Sword, which was created to defeat evil and could only be wielded by a Hero.
Once Link met with Princess Zelda, she told him of Ganondorf, who planned to betray her father, the King of Hyrule. Since the King refused to believe the princess and her premonitions, Zelda turned to Link and asked him to obtain the Spiritual Stones to prevent Ganondorf from acquiring them. Once Link gained possession of the three artifacts, he set off back to Hyrule Castle, only to see Zelda and Impa (Zelda's Guardian) flee from Ganondorf. Zelda threw the Ocarina of Time into the Castle Moat. Once Link picked it up, he went into a dream-like state in which Zelda taught him the Song of Time, the final key to opening the Door of Time. Link used the Spiritual Stones along with the Ocarina of Time and Song of Time, and pulled the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time. However, Link was too young to be the Hero of Time and defeat Ganondorf, and was placed in a seven year slumber in the safety of the Temple of Light within the Sacred Realm. With the Sacred Realm unsealed, Ganondorf, who had been waiting for Link to open the way for him, entered and touched the Triforce. Since Ganondorf's Heart was not balanced between the virtues of Power, Wisdom, and Courage, he was only given the Triforce of Power. The Sacred Realm became warped and twisted under Ganondorf's control, as the realm reflected the heart of the one who touched the Triforce. Only the Temple of Light at the center of the Sacred Realm remained uncorrupted.
Link awoke from his seven year sleep as an adult. Ganondorf had conquered Hyrule thanks to his wish and his Triforce of Power, and Link, the Hero of Time, was sent on a quest to defeat him. Link awakened the Seven Sages and confronted Ganondorf. When Ganondorf was weakened, the Seven Sages banished him to the Sacred Realm and sealed him within.
It was revealed in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that in ancient times, a group of Interlopers attempted to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm and secure the Triforce. In response, the Goddesses sent down the light spirits Ordona, Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru to seal them away along with their powerful magical creation, the Fused Shadow. The Interlopers were banished to the Twilight Realm, another dimension that was created by the Goddesses. Exposed to the Twilight of the realm, the Interlopers were transformed into the Twili Race.
At the very end of the game, Princess Hilda brought Link and Zelda to Lorule's Sacred Realm so the latter two could return to Hyrule via a portal. Link and Zelda ended up in Hyrule's Sacred Realm with the Triforce resting on its pedestal, which left them the opportunity to make a wish.
Ocarina of Time
The backstory of A Link to the Past had many similarities to the events of Ocarina of Time. The name "Seven Wise Men" from A Link to the Past was actually a mistranslation, with the original Japanese and later English re-releases gave them the same name as the Seven Sages from Ocarina of Time. Two of Ocarina of Time's Developers, Character Designer Satoru Takizawa and Script Director Toru Osawa, even stated that the Imprisoning War and Seven Sages who were mentioned by A Link to the Past were the same events and the characters who were seen in Ocarina of Time. Despite that, there were some details which conflicted between the two accounts. Many fans considered those details to be retconed in the face of overall similarities and developer confirmation, while others maintained that the two games described separate events and characters.
The Silent Realm from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was theorized to be the Sacred Realm. In Skyward Sword, Link obtained all three pieces of the Triforce in a place which appeared to be the Silent Realm, given the area's identical appearance, method of entry, and Link's lack of items in the area. Because the stories of the Creation of Hyrule stated that the Triforce was left in the Sacred Realm, it would make sense that in Skyward Sword, which was generally accepted as the first game in the chronology of the series, the Triforce would be found in the Sacred Realm. The Silent Realm also changed to appear golden upon Link's acquisition of the full Triforce, similar to the Sacred Realm's description as the "Golden Land". However, the nature of the Silent Realm was distinctly different from that of the Sacred Realm. While both were equivalent worlds to Hyrule, the Silent Realm was a Spirit World which only Link could enter, leaving Fi, his items, and his own physical body behind. The Sacred Realm, however, was a normal physical world, which any person could enter with their own body and equipment.